Monday, 23 June 2014

Beautiful Demoiselles

I took my regular visit to the River Tove on Sunday, before the British Grand Prix closes the area down!. There were around 30 Beautiful Demoiselle flitting around the river at Greens Norton, which is my favourite site for them. This species is doing well this year, with records coming in from Darryl Sutcliffe at several sites along the Brampton Valley Way; from Alison Lowe at Sulby (tantalisingly close to the River Welland) and from various streams near the Nene at Stortons Pits. The sightings near the Welland at Husbands Bosworth (which is in Leics) are very promising for expansion into Leicestershire, and I await feedback from Ian Merrill the Leics recorder to see if they have turned up there.


Thursday, 19 June 2014

Scarce Chasers and an ovipositing Emperor

I stopped off at Wadenhoe to catch some Scarce Chasers, and there were plenty of males around, and one old looking female. Hundreds of Banded Demoiselles were in the marginal reeds. While photographing a male Chaser, this female Emperor conveniently landed just in front of me, and began to oviposit into a lily stem. I thought the reflection was great and really helped make the picture.

Friday, 13 June 2014

More Hawkers and the first Darter

Emperors are now a common sight across our ponds and lakes, with adults seen at Tywell, Ditchford and Yardley Chase. At Ditchford, I found loads of Emperor Exuviae and one recently emerged female who had died after completing emergence. I thought at first she was waiting to fly, but on closer inspection I could see fluid dripping from her abdomen. After nudging a few times, I realised she was dead. There were several males hawking across their territories, and I managed a few decent in flight shots. A handful of Brown Hawker exuviae were also present.

At Ditchford there were many blue form female Common Blue Damselflies in amoung the thousands of  males. This colour form is rare in the early spring, but seems to become more common as the season progresses. The usual form is the pale yellow-brown. Common Blues have two phases of emergence, in early spring for larvae that are two years old and then mid summer for last year's larvae and I have often wondered if this contributes to the different numbers? Here is a sot I have been trying to get for a while now, showing both male and blue form female mating.

At Yardley Chase on Tuesday I found many Southern Hawker exuviae but no adults. Downy Emeralds were showing well.

The Whitestones Ponds at Twywell were buzzing with Broad-bodied Chasers, with over 12 adults across the three ponds. A couple of females appeared, were promptly mated and began ovipositing. They always seem to do it in photographically poor spots though!

John Windust reports the first Ruddy Darter at Summer Leys on 12 June.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Downy Emeralds and Black-tailed Skimmers

I took a walk around Stanwick Lakes on Sunday morning as the sun was gloriously bright and warm. I was amazed at the number of Common Blue Damselflies emerging and the total I saw must have exceed 3000. This was quite a sight! I was searching for Black-tailed Skimmers and disturbed about 15 taking their maiden flights. The adults weren't that helpful and didn't stay around too long, except two individuals who allowed me a close approach. Also, many Red-eyed Damselflies, Blue-tailed Damselflies and Four-spotted Chasers. On the river, hundreds of Banded Demoiselles were flitting about, but unfortunately, I didn't see any Scarce Chasers.

At Yardley Chase, I managed my first in flight shots of the year, of Downy Emeralds.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Variable Damselflies, Banded Demoiselles and Scarce Chasers

I made my regular trip to Maxey Pits on Sunday, to see the Variable Damselflies. There were over 30 present with many pairs ovipositing. Unfortunately, the sun is at the wrong angle for decent photographs in the morning, but I managed a decent record shot. For photography, this site is best visited in the afternoon. Also present were many Azures, Blue-tailed Damselflies and Four-spotted Chasers including two ovipositing. A couple of Hairys flew around too. 

I moved on to Wadenhoe, where I was astonished by the number of Banded Demoiselles. There must have been 1000+, in fact so many that they were sharing territories. Scarce Chasers were, as their name suggests scarce, with only 5 in evidence, including two that looked like they'd emerged that morning. Apart from a few Red-eyed Damselflies on the lily pads, there were no other species in evidence, or was I overwhelmed by the number of Demoiselles?

Male Variable Damselfly

Male Banded Demoiselle

Immature Male Scarce Chaser

Male Scarce Chaser